Disney is attempting to revive The Rocketeer with a “sequel-reboot” to the cult classic set ten years after the original and starring a black female lead. They have hired Max Winkler and Matt Spicer to work on a script, which is being titled The Rocketeers.
The original Rocketeer starred Billy Campbell as “Cliff” a young pilot who finds a stolen jetpack during World War II and teams up with Howard Hughes to thwart criminals and Nazis who are after the jetpack for their own nefarious purposes. The film was a financial flop, but it built a cult following over the following years and people cosplaying as Cliff or Jennifer Connolly’s “Jenny” are fixtures at every major comics convention.
The movie was based on the indie comics series by illustrator Dave Stevens who combined imagery from the movie serials of the 1940s with good girl art. (“Jenny” was originally “Betty” in the comics, and was an obvious analog for pin-up model Bettie Page.)
The movie has just entered pre-production, but some details have already leaked out. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter:
The new take keeps the story in a period setting and offers a fresh view on the characters. Set six years after the original Rocketeer and after Secord has vanished while fighting the Nazis, an unlikely new hero emerges: a young African-American female pilot, who takes up the mantle of Rocketeer in an attempt to stop an ambitious and corrupt rocket scientist from stealing jet-pack technology in what could prove to be a turning point in the Cold War.